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Old 07-25-2013, 11:53 AM   #1
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Why do new trailers weigh more?

I'm always surprised by how much new Airstreams weigh when compared to the old ones.

My 24 ft 1962 Tradewind originally had a dry weight of 3260#. We did a sort of half-monty that kept the original cabinetry but changed out the appliances and utilities. One one hand, we added A/C, batteries and an inverter. On the other, we took out the metal water tank and the really heavy old appliances. Our trailer now weighs... 3500#, including propane and some water. No big change.

I see that a new 23ft Flying Cloud weighs 4806# with propane only.

What makes the difference? Where does the additional weight come from? More massive furnishings?
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Old 07-25-2013, 12:04 PM   #2
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The frames are larger in the new ones because the body in the older trailer was the frame. Now the body is an after thought.
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Old 07-25-2013, 12:28 PM   #3
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It's a lot more than just the frames, which are heavier, but the bodies are bigger (wider and taller), but mostly the interiors are much heavier because of materials used.

The older trailers used very thin wood, and a lot of thin aluminum and plastic for the cabinetry. Now the interior is built from a lot of thicker wood.

I believe this is due to competition from Avion back in the '80's and 90's. Back then Avion had much more room in their trailers and much better quality of cabinetry, and was really cutting into the market, so Airstream had to compete.
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Old 07-25-2013, 01:04 PM   #4
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My 1984 34' International weighs in at just over 6200lbs. The cabinetry is really solid, the wardrobes are cedar lined, but with little weight saving touches everywhere.

Also, no Corian countertops.
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Old 07-25-2013, 01:07 PM   #5
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My 1984 34' International weighs in at just over 6200lbs. The cabinetry is really solid, the wardrobes are cedar lined, but with little weight saving touches everywhere.

Also, no Corian countertops.
And, if I remember correctly, an '84 is not a wide body either.
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Old 07-25-2013, 04:36 PM   #6
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In comparing even the same model year floor plan units like the 27FB, there are weight differences. The Flying Cloud and International models are both 28' long and have a 7,600 pound GVW. The Flying Cloud has a tongue weight of 791 pounds versus the International's 770 pounds. The empty weight of the Flying Cloud is 5,868 pounds while the International empty weight is 5,824 pounds.

The 27FB Classic is 27' 9.5" long with a GVW of 9,000 pounds and a tongue weight of 792 pounds. The empty weight is 6,662 pounds.

I figure the over 800 pound difference in empty weight between the slightly shorter Classic and the other two models is due a complete set of awnings, real hard wood cabinetry and fuzz on the walls, bigger propane tanks and fresh water tank, and heavier rated axles in the Classic.

I might guess the Classic has a stouter frame along with beefier axles.

So, as the customers have wanted more space, entertainment systems including two TV sets, bigger A/C units and furnace, upgraded plumbing and more water capacity in all three versions, stuff got heavier.
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Old 07-27-2013, 06:45 AM   #7
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I believe this is due to competition from Avion back in the '80's and 90's. Back then Avion had much more room in their trailers and much better quality of cabinetry, and was really cutting into the market, so Airstream had to compete.
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The overlap in design extends to all three manufacturers through 1990 (the final year of production of all three brands), as Silver Streak also shows influence from others. A comparison of brochures from any given year will highlight this. The big difference used to be in usable storage space, but this declined in re SS by the time the late '80's redesign was implemented. Folks are fooled by "open space" in a TT of this type; it's rather counterproductive to full-timing.

For A/S the increase in capacities (water, etc) is part of it, as is a better frame. The wider body allows for larger cabinetry (and more of it).

There is no real excuse for increased weight, except that it was easier and cheaper to add to an existing design than starting from a clean sheet. Brakes are no where near what they ought to be on these trailers, but "critter comforts" have made for some truly porky "aero" TT's (where reduced horsepower demand was practically the strongest design goal at the outset).

Cars became pitiful in terms of HP/weight ratios (they have since recovered), but trucks are the default choice now even for their inherent deficiencies.

An A/S is now a less economical TT to own if one mates it to a high operational cost TV. That didn't used to be the case. In relative terms the TT is cheaper now than it used to be, is the irony. The market used to be more exclusive (single income family with more time off), but much has changed since the peak year of 1973.

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Old 07-28-2013, 06:20 PM   #8
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I tell folks the dry weight of my Sovereign is about 5000 lbs. They are surprised. Then ask them "in 1975 what would you tow this with?" Family sedan/station wagon. In exchange I get the light frame and the plastic/aluminum interior.
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Old 07-28-2013, 06:54 PM   #9
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I've got a Sport 17' it weighs in at 2800 lb. Compare to a 1960 Bambi 16" that weighed in at 2250 lb. For the extra 550 lb; I get AC, a full size bath, TV and a microwave. Not bad. So you see that they really don't weigh any more if you compare modern narrow body trailers to old narrow body trailers.
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Old 08-07-2013, 01:30 PM   #10
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Trailers weigh more when new because of that "new smell" - as that odor escapes the trailer over time and it get's older, it becomes lighter!
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Old 08-07-2013, 01:38 PM   #11
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Quote:
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Trailers weigh more when new because of that "new smell" - as that odor escapes the trailer over time and it get's older, it becomes lighter!
Now that's FUNNY!

Here I thought it was all the GREEN technology that removes more GREEN from bank account.. Kinda rolling Ft. Knocks (intentional misspell )
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Old 08-07-2013, 01:48 PM   #12
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"Why do new trailers weigh more?"

for the most part, it has to do with likely the sea of higgs boson particles (ie the "higgs field") interacting with the much ligher things like neutrons and protons.



In conclusion...the newer airstreams interact to a greater degree with the higgs field.

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Old 08-07-2013, 01:53 PM   #13
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My '74 Argosy 20' has a total weight, axle and tongue (scales, actual measure) of 4160# as I normally travel with it.

My '14 Airstream FC 20' has a total weight of 4920# axle and tongue (again scale measured).

The Argosy has a 4" frame, the AS a 5" frame.

Where is the 740 extra pounds? I would expect mostly in the cabinets and interior wood parts. The Argosy has very light weight cabinets. Otherwise, both have awnings, AC, same size refrigerators, and so on. I love them both the same....lol.
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Old 08-07-2013, 01:57 PM   #14
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Do you weigh the same as you did 30 years ago?
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